Cocktails: Whiskey Sour

The Whiskey Sour


My first experience with a whiskey sour was not a particularly fond memory. I won’t go into details, but it involved a crowded college bar, a bottle of cheap sour mix, and a really awful cover band that couldn’t decide what genre they fit into. Needless to say, when a friend suggested I try the whiskey sour at a local bar with a better cocktail reputation a few months later, I was a little hesitant right up to when I saw the bartender begin crafting my drink with a fresh lemon and a handheld juicer. Fast-forward a few years, and a fresh, hand-crafted whiskey sour is one of my favorite drinks to enjoy…whether it’s at home or out at one of my favorite local cocktail bars. While some cocktails are better suited for a particular season or event, the whiskey sour is a drink that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. Made well, it’s just as refreshing sitting by the fire on a cold, December night as it is on a boat in the middle of July.

One of my favorite things about the whiskey sour is how easy it is to tweak and customize the recipe. I prefer my whiskey sour a little on the sour side, but if you find you want it a little sweeter it’s easy to adjust the ratio of simple syrup to lemon juice. As you’ll notice below, my whiskey sour recipe includes egg white. While you can certainly leave it out for allergy reasons or if you’re just too weirded out by the thought of egg in your drink, the protein in the egg white gives the cocktail a rich, frothy texture that takes it to another level.


Making the Drink



  • 1 oz simple syrup

  • 1.5 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 oz Bourbon

  • 1 egg white



  1. Combine the lemon juice, simple syrup, and bourbon in a mixing glass. Fresh squeezed lemon juice is best, but a good quality bottled juice will work fine as well.
  2. Add the egg white and shake vigorously without ice. This will help emulsify the egg white, leading to a satisfyingly smooth, frothy drink. (A word of caution, if you’re using a two-piece shaker hold on tight. Without the ice, it won’t seal quite as well.)
  3. Add ice and shake vigorously again
  4. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass, and garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry and a lemon wedge or wheel.
Whiskey Sour Making 2.JPG



The New York Sour – Float an ounce of red wine on top of the finished drink using a bar spoon (Think Guinness Black and Tan method)

The Ward Eight – Ditch the egg white, use half the lemon juice and add an equal part of orange juice, and use half the simple syrup while adding an equal part of grenadine

As with any other cocktail, play around with adding a few dashes of bitters (I’m a big fan of Scrappy’s), or try a spicier rye whiskey or smoky scotch for a completely different texture.

Have a favorite variation or personal twist? Leave a comment and let us know, we’re always looking for an excuse to try something new.

Blake Smith